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Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s Summer Exhibition Celebration Kicks Off on Thurs., May 4

On Thursday, May 4, BRAHM will be holding its Summer Exhibition Celebration from 5:00-7:30 p.m. This celebration will mark the opening of five exhibitions with a reception to follow. Admission is free, and the Museum will provide hors d’oeuvres, live music and a fun evening full of art and community. The event is open to the public, and it is sponsored by Bistro Roca of Blowing Rock. Along with a cash bar, there will also be a special beer tasting offered by the Blowing Rock Brewing Company. 

The Museum is featuring five new exhibitions at the reception: Fire & Form: North Carolina Glass, History of Tweetsie Railroad®, Inside Looking Out / Outside Looking In: Paintings by Ronna S. Harris, and In the Evening West: Boone’s Revolutionary Drama. The Alexander Community Gallery will feature the Museum’s annual Young At Art Student Spectacular. The Museum’s on-going exhibitions, Selections from the Collection and Elliott Daingerfield, will also be open.

“Five exciting new exhibitions debut this spring, ranging from glass to student art, and honoring both the art and history components of our mission,” said BRAHM Executive Director, Lee Carol Giduz. “We are very pleased with this season’s exhibitions and hope you will take the time to come visit the Museum.”

Inside Looking Out / Outside Looking In: Paintings by Ronna S. Harris

March 25 – July 23, 2017

Ronna S. Harris was trained in the philosophy of impressionism and its warm and cool palette, yet her current practice involves a back-and-forth and intertwined relationship between American realism and abstract expression. Formally, her paintings depict still lifes, portraiture, and landscape details. Conceptually, Harris discloses connections between all three. Inside Looking Out / Outside Looking In celebrates this and many other diverging and converging relationships in her work through an exhibition of 20 oil paintings.

Through a proficient understanding of light and skillful mark-making, Harris’ paintings serve as windows into the intimate, connective details of nature, objects, and humanity. A window rendered within the painting may serve as a backdrop for other subjects, or the physical frame of the painting itself may serve as a window into nature. One painting may place the viewer inside, allowing for one to look outward, while another places the viewer outside, allowing for one to reflect inward. Harris paints these windows both literally and figuratively. Some imagery has purpose and clear meaning, but sometimes objects, figures, and scenes tell a deeper story. Her creative process is ever-shifting between the desires to paint skillfully, tell a story inspired by true events, show the relationships between sexuality and nature, interpret the symbolism of everyday objects, capture what she sees right in front of her, or reveal the meanings of what lies beyond what we initially see.

Harris is a contemporary artist who lives and travels between Blowing Rock, New Orleans, and California. She earned her master’s of fine art in painting from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is an associate professor in the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane University in New Orleans. Harris has exhibited her work in galleries and museums across the country—from California to New York and across the southeast region. Her last exhibition in the High Country was in 2006 at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone.

“Fire & Form: North Carolina Glass”

April 8 – July 23, 2017

While the production of glass objects in Appalachia dates as far back as the 1700s, it was only within the past few decades that artists began exploring and defining the creative potential of glass as a sculptural medium. American ceramicist and educator Harvey K. Littleton was teaching at the University of Wisconsin when he began experimenting with glass in the 1950s. Many artists at the time were looking for ways to explore and create glass outside of factories and industry. After collaborating with glass research scientist Dominick Labino, a small furnace was created that allowed artists to work with glass independently in their studios. Littleton eventually began teaching glass to some of today’s most well-known artists, including Dale Chihuly and Marvin Lipofsky, who pushed the recognition of glass as an art form in the United States through the experimentation of sculptural forms. Artists sought guidance and expertise outside of the United States, allowing studio glass to grow into an international movement where artists and designers could share ideas and create glass works in small, independent studios. Glass working arrived in western North Carolina in 1965 at Penland School of Crafts with a studio built by Bill H. Boysen, one of Littleton’s students. Many glass artists practicing at Penland in the 60s and 70s—including Mark Peiser, Penland’s first residential glass artist—have grown to become some of the most influential artists of the American Studio Glass Movement. When Littleton retired and moved to Spruce Pine in 1977, many young glass artists followed. Since then, western North Carolina has become a hub for the Studio Glass Movement where contemporary glass artists continue to learn and share glass working techniques—including glassblowing, hot sculpting, and cold working—to create beautifully crafted works of art.

There are well over 60 studio glass artists working around the region, many of whom are recognized as some of the most influential contemporary glass artists of our time. “Fire & Form” features over 30 glass artists currently living and working here in North Carolina, exploring a wide variety of techniques and approaches to studio glass today. Exhibiting artists include Kathryn Adams, Dean Allison, Val & Rick Beck, Gary Beecham, Eddie Bernard, Alex Bernstein, Kate & William Bernstein, Jennifer & Thor Bueno, Ken Carder, Cristina Cordova & Pablo Soto, Tina Councell, Courtney Dodd, Ben Elliot, Shane Fero, Greg Fidler, Nick Fruin, John Geci, Joe Grant, Michael Hayes, Mike Krupiarz, Jon Kuhn, Rob Levin, Amber Marshall, John Nygren, Mark Peiser, Corey Pemberton, Kenny Pieper, IlaSahai Prouty, Richard Ritter, Kate Vogel & John Littleton, Hayden Wilson, and Thoryn Ziemba. This exhibition is made possible with support from these individuals and organizations: Larry Brady, Mary Bickers & Mark Murphy, Carol Biggers Dabbs, Lou Gottlieb, Barbara Laughlin, Monkee’s of Blowing Rock, Lee Rocamora & John Thompson Jr., Lynne & Charles Weiss, and Joan Zimmerman.

“History of Tweetsie Railroad®”

April 8 – July 23, 2017

Explore the history of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) and its place in the history of the High Country. The ET&WNC began operating in 1881, stretching from Tennessee to North Carolina. The line was extended to Boone in 1919. The ET&WNC discontinued narrow gauge rail service in 1950. Each year, thousands of visitors take a trip back in time when they visit the Tweetsie Railroad Wild West theme park, which opened in 1957, making it the first theme park in the Carolinas. Among various attractions, the park allows visitors to take a ride on the original engine No. 12, an authentic narrow gauge steam locomotive, which turns 100 years old in 2017. No. 12—also known as “Tweetsie” (which references the “tweet, tweet” sound of its steam whistle)—is the last operating locomotive of the ET&WNC. It was a mainstay of the ET&WNC Railroad, winding through rugged terrain and steep grades. When you step onto a train pulled by No. 12 at Tweetsie Railroad, you are truly experiencing a bit of mountain history. It was locomotives like No. 12 that spread commerce and spurred settlement across the frontier. This exhibition is made possible with support from Tweetsie Railroad®.

In the Evening West: Boone’s Revolutionary Drama

April 22 – July 23, 2017

As the sun hangs low on summer evenings over the Blue Ridge Mountains, a ritual practiced for 66 years plays out on the stage at Horn in the West. High above Boone, NC, sits the Daniel Boone Amphitheatre, home to Horn in the West, an outdoor drama. Since 1952, the Southern Appalachian Historical Association, in partnership with the Town of Boone, Watauga County, Appalachian State University, and the community has come together to put on a broadway-quality theatrical production. The show focuses on Daniel Boone, the American Revolution, and those who set out to make a new life for themselves in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This exhibition pulls the curtain back on the High Country’s oldest theatrical production.


Alexander Community Gallery

The Alexander Community Gallery will also be open and features the Museum’s annual Young At Art Student Spectacular, featuring work created by students in the Young at Art art education outreach program. The exhibition will be open from May 4 through May 18.